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Joseph Hawkins papers – Mormon Missouri War

Haun’s Mill Massacre – painting by C.C.A. Christensen

In honor of those who lost their lives during the Haun’s Mill Massacre 179 years ago today, L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Joseph Hawkins papers (Vault MSS 724). This collection includes six items relating to Joseph Hawkins’ role in the Mormon War in Missouri. From 1838-1839, Hawkins held the rank of a colonel in the Missouri Militia, serving as commander of the Gasconade County Volunteers. His papers includes original handwritten and signed letters from Missouri Governor Lilburn W. Boggs, Adjutant General B. M. Lisle, and Brigadier General Green White, which contain military orders to Hawkins. Also includes a printed general order (original was removed to print collection) by Lilburn W. Boggs and B. M. Lisle; and, a newspaper article on Joseph Hawkins from a 1924 Missouri newspaper.

Lilburn W. Boggs (1796-1860), sixth governor of Missouri from 1836-1840

The letter from Governor Boggs is of particular interest. In it Boggs discusses reports he had received about actions the Mormons had taken in Daviess County, including driving citizens from their homes, burning their houses, destroying their property, and “have reduced to ashes the town of Gallatin, the county seat of Davis [sic] County, including the clerk’s office, post office, and the public records.” He indicates citizens requesting protection, and ordered Hawkins to raise a militia to assist. This letter was written October 26, 1838, the day prior to Boggs issuing the “Extermination Order.” It provides insight into Boggs’ mindset with he issued this infamous order and later actions taken by him towards the Mormons, leading to their eventual expulsion from Missouri.

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